Thursday, March 10, 2011

Call for Papers: Workshop on Bayesian Mechanism Design

      June 5, 2011, San Jose, California
       in conjunction with ACM-EC 2011
   *** Submission deadline: Friday 4/15 ***

Mechanism design is the subfield of economics that looks at economic systems from the point of view of an optimizing designer. This designer would like to build a system whereby agents' individual selfish optimization in equilibrium leads to global optimization of a desired objective. While it is preferable to be able to perform this optimization in the "worst case", that is, in the absence of any assumption on the input, this is often not possible. Bayesian priors on the agents' private information can circumvent such impossibility results.

Over the last few years a number of works have demonstrated the benefits of using Bayesian information to circumvent impossibilities in the worst case, as well as of applying computer science techniques such as approximation to classical problems in the economic theory of Bayesian mechanism design. These include, for example, approximately-optimal mechanisms for pricing and profit maximization in multi-parameter settings, black-box reductions from mechanism design to algorithm design, mechanism design for budget-constrained agents, simplicity versus optimality tradeoffs, and approximately optimal mechanisms for settings with unknown priors. Despite this progress, Bayesian mechanism design remains outside the mainstream of mechanism design research within the CS community.

The focus of the workshop will be on techniques for designing good mechanisms in Bayesian settings. Papers are expected to consider combinations of the following topics:

       • Bayesian incentive compatible mechanism design
       • Bayes-Nash mechanism design,
       • Bayes-Nash price of anarchy,
       • approximation mechanisms,
       • simple versus optimal mechanisms,
       • computational complexity, and
       • prior-independence (where the Bayesian prior exists but is unknown to the designer).

Of special interest will be results that extend the reach of theory beyond that attainable without prior assumptions or with classical economic theory alone. Attendees not familiar with Bayesian mechanism design are encouraged to attend an accompanying tutorial in the morning before the workshop.

The workshop will be held in conjunction with the ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce.

Submission Deadline: Friday, April 15th
Acceptance Notification: Friday, April 29th
Workshop: Sunday afternoon, June 5th

The workshop is soliciting papers on Bayesian mechanism design topics outlined above.  Submitted papers will be evaluated on significance, originality, technical quality, and exposition.  The workshop will not have an archival proceedings and will consider papers simultaneously submitted for publication elsewhere subject to their expected publication being after June 9th, 2011 (the last day of the Conference on Electronic Commerce).  To receive full consideration papers should be submitted to <> by Friday, April 15th.  Notification of accepted papers will be on Friday, April 29th.

Organization: Shuchi Chawla (UW-Madison) and Jason Hartline (Northwestern)

Program Committee: Shuchi Chawla (UW-Madison), Costis Daskalakis (MIT), Anupam Gupta (CMU), Jason Hartline (Northwestern U.), Nicole Immorlica (Northwestern U.), Anna Karlin (Washington), Azarakhsh Malekian (Northwestern U.), Mallesh Pai (U. Penn.).